Curt's story

In the mid 1990s, when Curt was five, he was sent to live with his grandfather because his parents abused drugs and couldn’t look after him. After his grandfather died Curt was made a ward of the state and spent time with different foster families. He started committing crimes and taking drugs, and has been in and out of juvenile detention centres and jail since he was 12.

Curt was sent to a juvenile detention centre in New South Wales a number of times. While he was at this centre, he was sexually abused by Trish, one of the female workers who was there every time he was.

Trish groomed Curt. He told the Commissioner that when the boys were in the showers she would bring them their shampoo. ‘She used to go, “Oh here, you little cutie. Here’s your shampoo. Make sure you wash clean”, this and that. It first started when I was 12, but the sexual abuse didn’t start when I was 12.’ Trish would also give Curt and other boys extra cigarettes and treats.

‘I think when I was 12 it was more, just more like mucking around, like touching … just touching the shoulders and you know what I mean, just touching my hair and … She was more, you know … affection … She wasn’t forcing anything you know.’

The abuse continued, and Trish began having sex with Curt. She also exposed him and another boy to pornography and had sex with the other boy in front of Curt. The abuse stopped when Curt was 15.

Curt told the Commissioner that the abuse made him uncomfortable. ‘I’d always play on, because I didn’t … not dirty but … I’d feel anxious around her and the boys.

‘At first, you know, I didn’t really find her exciting because back then I didn’t really, you know, I didn’t even have a girlfriend back then. I was just worried about home and … I did have a drug dependency … from when I started committing crimes to get drugs and my using just increased.’

At the time, Curt felt that he had bonded with Trish, and only realised later that she was actually abusing him.

Curt began having behavioural issues and spent a lot of time in confinement and at other centres. ‘Because of my behaviour I ended up at [another centre] because I was always lashing out at people.’ He was put on anti-psychotic medication to manage his behaviour, but it didn’t really work. His behaviour didn’t improve and he continued to be punished for it. ‘I weren’t really aggressive … I was lashing out … because of what happened.’

Curt has the support of some members of his Aboriginal family, even though he is known as the ‘bad egg … that’ll be a bad influence on his cousins’.

He told the Commissioner that relationships are difficult for him and he is ‘antisocial, negative … I don’t really like relationships. It’s turned me off relationships … It’s just hard you know, trying to develop new social networks and like, building relationships and that’s what you need to do in order to get ahead and sometimes I find that uncomfortable in a situation’.

Curt has been talking to a psychologist because ‘on the outside, like if I’m in a complex situation I just tend to you know, walk out … I get pretty anxious’. He told the Commissioner that he is drug-free now and his mental health is currently okay, but ‘I don’t know if it’s depression or you know what I mean, whatever they call it, like used of being institutionalised … used of being just in’.

Curt believes that some of the other workers may have known what Trish was doing, because he saw them ‘give [us] the eye or the dirty look at Miss’. He was reluctant to come to the Royal Commission, but, ‘I thought it’s the right thing to do. Like I didn’t want to come here … then I thought … there was other boys I’m sure you can investigate this now … other workers woulda seen her … It’s good that youse are doing it’.

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